Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at RIA Unleashed (Nov. 2009) with:

The Fountainhead, An Amazing Book

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Books, Life

I have The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) on my iPod. I listened a long time ago, but as I am always in shuffle mode, a chapter comes up ever now and then. Usually, I just skip over it to get to the next song, but I was tired this morning and thought it would be nice. About half way through the chapter I was suddenly over come with a feeling of ... not sure what it was, but I almost broke down in tears. There is something so powerful about this book. I don't know how to describe it other than it is a beautiful, beautiful book. Anyone who is passionate about anything should read this book (or listing to it on audio). You will not regret it and it will strike a chord in you that will only make you want to be more passionate.

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Reader Comments

A friend gave me a copy about fifteen years ago and wrote inside that "It might change your life!"... I don't know that I'd be quite that dramatic about it but it really is an incredible, powerful book. I recommend it to everyone.

And my Mac hard drive has been called Rand in every machine I've owned during that fifteen year period too :)

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Dude, "Sean Corfield" touched my site! I am never washing this site again :)

Yeah, it's a high quality book. I haven't gotten to any of her other books, but I am interested in more of this "objectivism."

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I would agree, The Fountainhead is a really good book. Like Sean, saying "it changed my live" is a bit over dramatic, but it definitely makes you think very hard about life, society, and the worth of the individual.

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Ayn Rand has a devoted following to be sure.
And her books DO affect you because you want to identify yourself with the hero who refuses to compromise.
I saw the 1949 movie "The fountainhead" a few years ago starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. They did a great job interpreting the book. I particularly remember the committee deciding to put some greco columns as a facade in front of Rourke's buildings to make it look classical. It was truely awful looking.
Reading Ayn Rand gives you a certain perspective. Why even the use of "Lorem Ipsum" makes me think of Fountainhead to a degree. We don't want to offend anyone, so let's just go with real safe text as our filler. So what we end up with is nonsense.
I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, but it required "suspended disbelief" while reading it. Rand, being from Russia didn't seem to quite grasp the whole idea of how money is a motivator and how people will work for money.
But I got her point, and I definately see it where I work.
I don't want to elaborate too heavily about that here if you know what I mean....
To me, the fulcrum of the entire book (Atlas Shrugged) rested upon the word "Move" after the train accident (very far into the book).
Someone I work with closely named his business "Atlas" after Atlas Shrugged.

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Philip,

Yeah, I want to get my hands on Atlas Shrugged. My father was a huge Rand fan and Atlas was perhaps his favorite book of all time.

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When do you ever come across a phenomenal book like FountainHead?
Here's what's unique about it.

You can open a page in that book, any page you will, hell, throw the book in the air and let it fall on a page, and start from there, ang I bet you will be hooked.

The depths in the book are unfathomable.

No?

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Agreed. I don't know how she was able to write like that. It's like she spent minutes picking and choosing every single word that went into every single sentence. I have never read another book that felt so planned out and dense of information.

I keep wanting to watch the movie they made of it, but I can't bring myself to do it. I am so afraid it will ruin the book for me.

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Hi Ben,

The Fountainhead is definitely a powerful book -- I've read it more than 7 to 8 times and still go through the exact same experience every time I pick up some part from it randomly.

If you wish to learn more about Objectivism, you might want to pick up a copy of "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff (Rand's intellectual heir). Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Peikoff, but this book really does explain Objectivism in the best possible way.

If The Fountainhead almost made you cry, I'm sure Ayn Rand's first novel "We The Living" will finish the job :-). Whenever I read the book, I have the experience that the book is actually screaming out to the readers.

The Atlas Shrugged, of course, is the best one of all. It is the one that despite being a novel, formally introduces Objectivism. Of course, only the ideas are discussed; Objectivism isn't mentioned by name as such. Definitely worth a read!

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@Kushal,

The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are both amazing books. I even got around to Anthem. All great stuff. I will have to look at We The Living; I am not sure what that one is about.

I have tried to get into her non-fiction stuff - objectivist newsletters and virtues of selfishness, but they are all a little too deep for me. I like to see her concepts acted out in novel format; that seems to be the only way I can truly understand what she is getting at.

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